What are the different types of withdrawal symptoms?

Withdrawal symptoms can occur when exposure to an entity on which a physical dependency has been built is cut off. In some cases, this entity may be completely legal and reasonably harmless to those who use it responsibly; for example, it is possible to develop physical dependencies on caffeine, prescription drugs, and even food. More often, however, withdrawal symptoms refer to the physical and psychological changes that can occur when one stops using an addictive substance such as nicotine, alcohol, or heroin.

When a regular tobacco user stops or greatly reduces their tobacco intake, they will often experience one or more nicotine withdrawal symptoms. These can include irritability, anxiety, depression, headaches, fatigue, disturbed sleep, increased appetite, and an intense craving for nicotine. Symptoms generally begin a few hours after the last use of the substance and peak about 72 hours later. There are a number of products that can relieve nicotine withdrawal symptoms. Some, such as nicotine-containing gum and patches, are available without a prescription, while others, such as certain antidepressants that relieve smoking cessation, must be prescribed by a doctor.

The withdrawal symptoms that can occur when one stops using alcohol can range from mild to life-threatening. Generally, the severity of symptoms, which typically occur within several hours to several days after last use, is proportional to the amount of alcohol regularly ingested. Mild withdrawal symptoms are usually primarily emotional. They can include anxiety, confusion, moodiness, nervousness, irritability, and depression.

Moderate withdrawal may include the symptoms listed above along with physical reactions such as headache, nausea, tremor, excessive sweating, and increased heart rate. Severe withdrawal can include all of the above symptoms, plus serious conditions such as fever, seizures, and delirium tremens. As the latter symptoms can be life-threatening, it is recommended that people who are highly dependent on alcohol seek professional supervision when stopping their intake.

Heroin withdrawal symptoms can be very unpleasant, but they are usually not fatal. Beginning around 12 hours after last use, a heroin user may experience runny nose and eyes, muscle pain, anxiety, difficulty sleeping, and irritability. As withdrawal progresses, you may experience flu-like symptoms such as nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, and chills.

A doctor can prescribe medication to ease the physical symptoms of heroin withdrawal. Those seeking emotional support in the post-withdrawal period might consider joining a group to recover opioid users. It is important to note that a heroin user who has withdrawn from the drug will have a lower tolerance. Therefore, in the event of a relapse, she may overdose on a much smaller amount of the drug than she was used to.

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